Restaurants can now apply for up to $10 million in COVID-19 relief funds through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a part of the recently passed American Recovery Plan (ARP). The RRF will provide a minimum $1,000 in funds to eligible restaurants and similar businesses to replace funds lost due to the pandemic.
Eligible businesses include restaurants, food trucks, caterers, bars, bakeries, breweries, wineries, and inns. Businesses can receive up to $10 million each, and up to $5 million per physical location. Funds can be spent on expenses including payroll, mortgages, rent, business debt, utility payments, and food. Businesses are not required to repay the funds if they are spent on eligible items before March 11, 2023.
In a press release, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia-07) said, “The Restaurant Revitalization Fund focuses on the long-term survival of the restaurant industry — and I hope many Central Virginia restaurants and bars will seriously consider submitting an application.”
Applications opened Monday. For the first 21 days, priority will be given to funding businesses owned by women, veterans, socially disadvantaged individuals, and economically disadvantaged individuals. After that, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will fund all applications until the funds run out. $5 billion has been set aside for businesses who grossed $500,000 or less in 2019. $4 billion is set aside for businesses that grossed $500,001 to $1,500,000 in 2019, and $500 million is set aside for applicants who grossed $50,000 or less in 2019.
“Last month, I was proud to vote in support of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as part of the American Rescue Plan and today, my office stands ready to assist our area’s businesses as they prepare to participate,” Spanberger said in the release.
Republicans opposed the ARP and its $2 trillion price tag. But staff for Representative Rob Wittman (R-Virginia-01) said that doesn’t mean he’s opposed to small business relief.
“Congressman Wittman has advocated for — and voted in favor of — relief for small businesses (such as the Paycheck Protection Program) in prior relief packages. His vote on the so-called American Rescue Plan reflects the ongoing clash of values between the Biden Administration and Congressional Republicans,” Wittman Communications Manager Brandon Wear told The Virginia Star.
Wear said Wittman supports more targeted relief efforts, and said that unemployment extensions from the ARP are harming restaurants. Wear said, “Although Congressman Wittman disagrees with the Biden Administration’s overall approach of spending $2 trillion, according to information about this specific program available from the U.S. Small Business Administration, it will provide needed relief to restaurants.”
In the release, Spanberger said, “Here in Central Virginia, we are home to a strong and vibrant restaurant scene. But in conversations with restaurant operators across our region, I’ve heard heartbreaking stories about how they’ve struggled to keep their businesses and their livelihoods afloat under the harsh circumstances posed by the pandemic — and we need to take active steps to ensure our area’s food and beverage community comes out of the pandemic stronger than before.”
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